• 'We're blessed to still be here,' victim says after shooting near Clark Atlanta

    By: Steve Gehlbach , Tom Jones


    ATLANTA - Kia Thomas, a Clark Atlanta University student, says she doesn't want a "hateful act" that happened to her to tarnish her college experience.

    Thomas, a junior, was one of four people injured in a shooting during a block party Tuesday night at the intersection of James P. Brawley Drive Southwest and Beckwith Street Southwest.

    She spoke at an emotional news conference Friday just days after she was released from the hospital. 

    "We're all very fortunate and blessed to still be here," Thomas said. 

    Police identified the other victims as Erin Ennis, 18, Maia Williams-McLaren, 18, and Elyse Spencer, 18.

    Thomas didn't want to talk about campus safety or the investigation into the shooting at the news conference. She said she's focused on destroying fear with positivity.

    The 19-year-old communications major described what happened at the gathering near the campus library Tuesday night. It was a back-to-school celebration that ended in violence.

    Thomas said she heard a "pop" but said her mind told her it couldn't be gunfire.

    "And then after the second shot is when I felt the pain, and then I began to run," she said.


    She realized a bullet grazed her. Luckily, all four victims' injuries were non-life-threatening.

    Investigators released video of the man they believe shot the four teens and are asking for the public's help to identify him. Police do not believe he is a student.

    Police said the man who pulled the trigger was involved in a fight between two groups.

    Thomas said the gun gave the shooter a lot of power -- power used in the wrong way.

    "Because innocent people in this situation got hurt for no reason. And it's just not necessary," she said.

    Thomas said this could have turned out worse than it did. She said the campus is fortunate and she is so grateful to still be here.

    "Though my injuries are minor compared to theirs, I'm still very blessed, very grateful," she said.

    In a letter to alumni Friday, Clark Atlanta University's interim president said Atlanta police will increase their presence around the campus, the AUC library will increase security and public safety employees will work 12-hour shifts to provide 24-hour coverage.

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